From: PeerJ
Published May 30, 2017 11:08 AM

Corals in peril at a popular Hawaiian tourist destination due to global climate change

Researchers from the Coral Reef Ecology Lab at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology documented the third global bleaching event as it occurred from 2014 to 2016 at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve (HBNP) on the island of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i.

Dr. Paul Jokiel (in his final field research before his passing in April 2016) and team investigated the extent of the 2014 and 2015 bleaching events and the underlying causes of the patterns observed. They found that 47% of reef flat corals at HBNP bleached overall and 9.8% of corals died at Hanauma Bay during this time.

Their findings, published in the international journal PeerJ, show that temperature is by far the most influential factor in coral bleaching at this wellmanaged location where corals, fish, and all other organisms are protected.

The warmer seawater temperatures that negatively affected coral reefs in Hawai‘i—and across the globe—are tied to the drastic increases in global carbon emissions of the past several decades.

Read more at PeerJ

Image: Dr. Ku'ulei Rodgers conducting coral bleaching survey. (Credit: Keisha Bahr)

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